State Pension age compensation Bill for millions of WASPI women due in Parliament this week

There are two key dates women born in the 1950s impacted by changes to the State Pension age should add to their diary this week as MPs return to Parliament after the Easter recess. The second reading of the State Pension Age (Compensation) Bill, which was brought before the House in February by SNP MP Alan Brown, will have its second reading on Friday, April 19.

On February 7, the Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP said the “lack of resolution” for the 3.8 million WASPI Women (Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign) is a “disgrace”. Brown used the 10-minute rule procedure in the Commons to introduce the Bill, backed by 12 SNP, Labour and Lib Dem MPs.

He said that a “fair and fast compensation is the simple scheme that the WASPI women are looking for” adding that as a minimum, level five of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) remedy scale should be given - this would be between £3,000 -£9,950.

However, he added: “Level six of the PHSO bandings is the most appropriate - and this Bill could deliver a simple framework.” Level six is considered the most serious by the PHSO and worth £10,000 or more.

After a six-year investigation, the PHSO concluded on March 21 that women born in the 1950s, affected by short notice changes to their State Pension age, should be compensated. The Ombudsman then asked Parliament to intervene and “act swiftly” to make sure a compensation scheme is established.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride appeared before the House on March 25 and said the UK Government will give its response to the findings once it has had “sufficient time” to digest the 100-page report.

During an interview on Good Morning Britain (GMB) last week, the DWP boss was pressed by presenter and former MP Ed Balls on whether compensation will be paid.

Mr Stride responded: “What I’ve said Ed, and I’ve said this on the floor of the House (House of Commons) is that there will be no undue delay in us coming forward, but I do want to have sufficient time, and there are very strong feelings about this on all sides of the argument incidentally as to weather compensation should be paid or not and I do want to make sure that we get that judgmental call right.

“The Ombudsman of course has also invited Parliament to be part of that process, but we will do this as quickly as we can.”

The second date for the diary is on Tuesday, April 16 when an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by SNP MP Patricia Gibson to debate the “devastating impact of continuing unfair pension treatment of 1950s-born WASPI women” will be progressed at the Backbench Business Committee.

More than 226,000 people have also signed an open letter created by Angela Madden, chair of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign, urging Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt MP, to timetable an ‘urgent’ debate and vote in Parliament on compensation for millions of women impacted by changes to the State Pension age.

Commenting recently on the thousands of people who have signed the petition in support of the open letter, WASPI Chair, Angela Madden said: “It is unacceptable for the government to treat the Ombudsman’s report as if it were War and Peace or some very complicated and controversial plan to change the ‘offside rule’.”

Ms Madden added that the PHSO’s report contains three straightforward conclusions: “The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) failed us very badly; WASPI women should be compensated; Parliament should intervene to set up a scheme.”

The campaigner continued: “Without proper time being made available in the Commons for a debate and vote on compensation, MPs essentially have their hands tied behind their backs on this.

“We’re looking to Penny Mordaunt as Commons Leader to put that right and we ask all those who back our campaign to sign our open letter to her. We have been overwhelmed by the support so far.”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality for Women - which is backed by scores of MPs across the political spectrum - has recommended that every WASPI woman should receive at least £10,000 in compensation.

They concluded that “women have had their emotional, physical and mental circumstances totally obliterated by a lack of reasonable notice” and said “the impact of DWP maladministration on 1950s-born women has been as devastating as it is widespread.”

WASPI open letter to Penny Mordaunt MP

The full text of the letter signed by thousands of people to House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt MP, reads: “Dear Penny Mordaunt, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has confirmed that WASPI women are due compensation. But the Department of Work and Pensions refuses to comply.

“The All-Party Parliamentary Group on this issue - which is backed by hundreds of MPs across party lines - has long backed substantial compensation.

“The Commons must urgently have the opportunity to debate and vote on their proposals, and any others that MPs wish to bring forward.

“After all, with 3.5m affected - and one dying every 13 minutes -everyone knows somebody who has been affected by the DWP’s incompetence and neglect of 1950s-born women.”

The WASPI letter can be viewed on here.